Country Risk

Likelihood of attacks targeting security forces and collateral damage risk to commercial assets rising in northwest Ecuador

30 January 2018


On 27 January, a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) was detonated outside a police station in San Lorenzo, Esmeraldas province; causing substantial damage to the station, surrounding buildings, and nearby vehicles.

At least 28 people were injured in the attack. Authorities declared a 60-day localised state of emergency in San Lorenzo in response, and preliminary investigations attributed the attack to a dissident of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) named “Guacho”, citing retaliation for recent drug seizures as the motive. Authorities believe Guacho, originally from Ecuador, has between 50 and 60 men under his command. The province of Esmeraldas, which borders the Colombian department of Nariño, is a known cocaine export hub, with Colombian armed groups moving freely across the river and coastal borders.

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